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Archive for the tag “Mother Jones”

Yes, David Sedaris makes stuff up. Deal with it.

In the ongoing public flagellation of memoir writers, humorist David Sedaris is the latest author to come under scrutiny for the vaidilty of his writing. Are Sedaris’s stories “real”? The New Republic wanted to know last March when the magazine accused him of exaggerating the truth to – gasp! – make a funny.

Well, duh. Anyone of reasonable intelligence who has sat down with one of Sedaris’s hilarious but not entirely probable stories has the understanding that the author, who by all accounts does come from a wacky family, nevertheless delves into far fledge territory. It’s called creative license, Oprah.


In a recent interview with Mother Jones, Sedaris happily chats about his writing and its truthfulness.

Q: So, do you exaggerate?

A: Boy, do I. And if it weren’t for The New Yorker fact-checkers, I’d do it more. I’ve always been up front about that. I think that was what was weird to me about it, was this idea that I had somehow been caught. I had written [in The New Yorker] that my spiders got so obese that their legs started chafing. I talked to the spider expert at the natural history museum, and he said that spiders’ legs never rub together. I said, “No, I know they wouldn’t. I’m just saying it as a joke.” I don’t know how easy [The New Republic] thinks it is to make shit up. To say that a humorist exaggerates to get big laughs, I don’t see how that’s big news.

So, add Sedaris to the list of writers, including Augusten Burroughs and James Frey who knows how to spin a yarn. As for the subject of boyfriend Hugh,, Sedaris told the magazine he lies about him, too:

If there’s any guy standing behind me people will say, “Is that Hugh?” And I’m like, ‘Do you think he has nothing better to do than to travel around with me and stand behind me while I sign books?’ One time, though, there was a beefy Puerto Rican security guy, very stern and very tough, so I told everybody that was Hugh. I could see how irritating that was for him, because here’s everybody thinking that he’s gay and that he’s my boyfriend. But his job was to protect me, not to kill me. So there was nothing he could do about it.

Are you a fan of Sedaris? Have you been to a reading?

Did a prisoner pack your bag of Starbucks?

The Mother Jones web site has a great piece about corporations farming out important tasks to United States prisoners.

Inmates across America do everything from process meat and dairy products (from animals raised in jail) to package holiday bags of Starbucks coffee and Nintendo GameBoy devices. Most of the work is handed down to inmates from the corporations’ subcontractors. That’s how Washington prisoners in the 1990s ended up shrink-wrapping Microsoft mouses and software. In 2003, Dell had prisoners recycling PCs, but were forced to stop by a watchdog group that said the prisoners might have been exposed to toxins.

Other companies with inmates on the payroll include Costco, JanSport, and the United States government who has prisoners producing not just uniforms and bedding for soldiers, but producing missile cables and cutting airplane components for use in combat.

The prisoners are ideal workers because they’re cheap. Their wages per hour are a fraction of what an ordinary worker earns. Gives all new meaning to Made In America, huh?

WEIRD: In the 1990s female prisoners were hired to sew lingerie for Victoria’s Secret. Think about that the next time you drop $100 on your cute new bra.

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